Mee Goreng: Malaysian Stir Fried Noodles
This week’s challenge for /r/52weeksofcooking sent me back to Asia – this time to figure out a malaysian dish. I’ve always had a thing for noodles so was instantly drawn to the all the street noodle images popping up as I searched for recipes. I also wanted something with a bit of heat, as I’m still trying to figure out how spicy I can get without it upsetting the little one. I’ll admit that I’ve been avoiding spicy foods so happy this challenge came along to push me out of my comfort zone.
Even though we’re no longer around an Asian market my mom is, so I sent her on a shopping trip to get some ingredients for me. I used Lee Kum Kee sauces for this dish as they are vegetarian and husband safe – the second part being more important!
Chili Garlic Bok Choy with Tofu
An excuse to make spicy food?!?!? Sign me up! I was thrilled when I saw the theme this week for /52week was spicy, as it gave me an excuse to experiment with all my chili pastes. I decided to keep the other ingredients rather basic, since the point of the dish was the sauce and not the proteins. With some of the sauces I blended all of the liquids in advance and then stirred them in, however this time I decided to add things in layers in order to have more control over the final result. With my new chili garlic paste I have three different chili based pastes, and every time I cook with them I’m amazed with how complex and different they taste.
Sesame Oil has also become my new bff, since it gives a nutty flavor to dishes without the risks of nuts. I’m also thrilled that so far I’ve been able to keep to my goal of doing as many of the 52week challenges vegan as possible. While I don’t see myself going vegan, pending vegan Ritter Sports bars, I love pushing myself outside of my normal cooking comfort zone.
Japanese Soba Noodles with Ginger Soy Sauce
When I first saw the /52weeks of cooking challenge for last week was Japanese, I was all sorts of excited. While I have had Japanese food a number of times, outside of some girls nights doing “sushi” I have no experience cooking the cuisine. So off to the cookbooks I went to get some ideas! Unfortunately my cookbooks turned out to be very light on Japanese recipes, which is probably why I haven’t cooked it. I might have over a dozen curry recipes but I was only able to find locate one Japanese recipe that didn’t have a notation about being fusion or “in the style of”. So I start Googling Japanese restaurants, hoping that I would find inspiration in menu items, something that I have done before with some success. After seeing a few dozen recipes calling for Soba Noodles in some type of sauce I decided to give them a whirl. I also decided to go out of my comfort zone and work with ginger, an ingredient that has caused problems for me in the past. For the vegetables I decided to keep it simple and green, since I wanted the noodles and the ginger to be the start of the show. I grabbed bok choy, which I had never cooked with before, and kale, and old friend, and headed off to heat up my wok.
I’m know this recipe is more “in the style of” Japanese cooking, seeing as how bok choy didn’t make it to Japan until the early 20th century, but it has certainly inspired me to find some vegetarian Japanese cookbooks. With that said, if anyone has a cookbook, vegetarian or not, that they would recommend please leave a comment! I look forward to many more Japanese cooking adventures in my near future.